By Lauren Kessler

Communists vilified her as a raging neurotic. Leftists disregarded her as a stressed idealist. Her relatives pitied her as an exploited lover. a few stated she was once a traitor, a stooge, a mercenary and a grandstander. To others she used to be a real American heroine—fearless, principled, daring and resolute. Congressional committees enjoyed her. The FBI hailed her as an avenging angel. The Catholics embraced her. however the truth is, greater than part a century after she captured the headlines because the "Red secret agent Queen," Elizabeth Bentley is still a mystery.

New England-born, conservatively raised, and Vassar-educated, Bentley used to be groomed for a quiet lifestyles, a small lifestyles, which she explored in brief within the Twenties as a instructor, educating well-heeled younger ladies at the fantastic thing about Romance languages at an east coast boarding university. yet in her mid-twenties, she rejected either previous and destiny and set herself on a completely new path. within the Thirties she embraced communism and fell in love with an undercover KGB agent who initiated her into the realm of espionage. by the point the USA plunged into WWII, Elizabeth Bentley was once directing the operations of the 2 biggest secret agent earrings in the US. finally, she had 80 humans in her mystery equipment, 1/2 them staff of the government. Her assets have been far and wide: within the departments of Treasury and trade, in New Deal organisations, within the top-secret OSS (the precursor to the CIA), on Congressional committees, even within the Oval Office.

When she defected in 1945 and informed her story—first to the FBI after which at a sequence of public hearings and trials—she used to be catapulted to tabloid repute because the "Red secret agent Queen," ushering in, nearly single-handedly, the McCarthy period. She was once the government’s famous person witness, the FBI’s most crucial informer, and the darling of the Catholic anti-Communist circulation. Her disclosures and accusations placed a halt to Russian spying for years and helped to set the tone of yank postwar political life.

But who was once she? a wise, autonomous girl who made her offerings freely, correct and unsuitable, and had the energy of personality to work out them via? Or used to be she used and manipulated via others? smart woman is the definitive biography of a conflicted American lady and her debatable legacy. Set opposed to the backdrop of the political drama that outlined mid-twentieth century the USA, it explores the undercover agent case whose explosive family and overseas coverage repercussions were debated for many years yet now not totally revealed—until now.

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Extra info for Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley, the Spy Who Ushered in the McCarthy Era

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Angelou was startled when the woman ordered her to wait, so that she—the saleswoman—could walk through first. When she objected to being talked to in such a way, the saleswoman was startled. She was rude to Angelou, who countered with insults. Feeling that she had stuck up for herself, Angelou Out on Her Own 43 walked back to Momma’s, only to be met with anger. Momma had received a call from the woman at the store. Insisting that it had been a matter of principle to speak up for herself, Angelou was stunned and hurt when Momma slapped her across the face, and told her how foolish her actions had been: You think ’cause you’ve been to California these crazy people won’t kill you?

Think ahead,” her mother ordered. “What the hell is he bringing you? The contempt of his people and the distrust of your own. ”40 Even so, when Angelos proposed, Angelou accepted. She understood the reservations her mother had, but she believed it was best, for her and for Clyde. She quit her job and became a fulltime homemaker and mother. “My life began to resemble a Good Housekeeping advertisement,” she later wrote. “I cooked wellbalanced meals and molded fabulous jello desserts. ”41 Parting Ways For a while, the marriage was fine.

She did not know what she wanted to do, but she was certain that working in a diner was only temporary. For now, she continued to drift and to dream about finding a place where she really fit in. L. Poole, a nightclub tap dancer who was looking for a new partner for his act. He had gotten her name from the owner of the record store, who knew Angelou had taken dance lessons as a girl. Although she had no experience in the kind of dancing Poole did, she threw herself into learning as much as she could, and Poole hired her.

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